Her jewelry is beautiful, original and very noticeable. No wonder Pamela Harari
has just won a prize, the Emerging Designer award given by Centurion Jewelry
Company in the US.
LIFE BEFORE ALIYA
She had to travel to Tucson, Arizona, to receive the
award but didn’t mind at all. It was just one more step on the road that she
embarked on 10 years ago – to give up all her other work and concentrate on what
she loved most, creating gorgeous jewelry for discerning women, including
several celebrities, who love her unusual creations and are prepared to trek
over to Moshav Kadima to buy it, although she also sells in selected hotel
Pamela was born in Leeds, England, and
made aliya alone at 20. She’d already taken a route fairly rare for young
British Jewish girls from good families, having left school at 16 and been to
France where she worked as an au pair. She spent a year with a Jewish family,
which she describes as “an interesting experience.”
“I came back to Leeds
after that year and did my O and A levels [matriculation] in French, which I had
learned to speak well,” she recalls. She also took a jewelry course, having
always been very artistic and loving to paint and sculpt, and feeling that in
making jewelry she could use all these talents and end up with something
She came to the absorption center in Kfar Saba as she
had a married sister living in the town. It was a reasonably soft landing thanks
to her family nearby. She remembers life in those days as being simpler than it
“It was like going to the other end of the world in 1982,” she
says. “There wasn’t much here in terms of clothes or furniture
After the first ulpan, she did a second in Givat Oz and
eventually met her husband, Dror, and began working for a tour operator, while
studying jewelry in the evenings at Omanut in Jaffa.
“I had to take care
of the tourists, mainly from Britain, and make sure they were happy with the
arrangements,” she says.LIFE IN ISRAEL
After leaving the tourist job,
she even worked for a couple of years in the advertising department at The
But all she really wanted to do was make jewelry, which
she could only do in her spare time.
For the next seven years after
leaving the Post
she worked in a graphic design studio in Ra’anana, as the
“The jewelry was on a back burner all this time,” she
recalls.GOING INTO BUSINESS
At 40 she decided it was now or never and
she would take the plunge and open her business full-time, giving up all her
other activities. Her husband, a sales engineer in a water purification company,
supported her decision to leave the workforce and the steady income she was
bringing in for the unknown benefits of selling highend jewelry.
wasn’t easy – this is a small country and since I started so many schools have
opened up and every year a host of new graduates emerge – but I do believe there
is room for everybody,” she says.WORK
Twice a week she makes a trip to
the Bourse to buy the gold and stones she needs for her creations.
never know what I'm going to design,” she says. “I buy stones and special
Tahitian pearls, which are very large, and I spread everything out before me.
Only then do I get ideas on what they are going to be.”
She describes her
style as “ancient with a twist of rough and modern” and her pieces are not
finished like conventional jewelry.
“My work is not highly polished and
it’s very asymmetrical,” she says. Nevertheless she has a loyal following and is
becoming quite well-known in the field.
The hardest part is to work out
how to make it work financially when she is an artist at heart and admits to not
having a business head.
“The prices of the raw materials I use fluctuate
all the time,” she says. “When I have to start working out what’s happening in
the stock market, it takes some of the pleasure out of the whole
However, she even made a trip to Dubai a few years ago to
find out what was going on in the market there.
“There was a recession
here so I asked myself, ‘Where can I go that the recession hasn’t hit yet?’” she
She is learning from experience and slowly becoming known, with an
article in Globes
about her which was very welcome.
“It’s a learning
curve,” she says, “and I found out I know so little it’s humbling.”
her three children, 21, 16 and 14, still at home, she finds her days fully
occupied, and making jewelry, which she loves, is still only a part, albeit an
important one, of her life.